The 10 Reasons Why Travel is Important to Me
Exploring the world one day at a time
I grew up on a small island in the Caribbean. Even though there were many areas to visit, I was running out of places to explore as I got older. I also started to get curious about the world outside of the island and dreamed of exploring bigger places. I believe I started to suffer from what is called island fever, a concept I learned recently. It would explain a lot.
Island fever is a “psychological distress, dysfunction, or disorder that causes significant stress, abnormal thoughts, and feelings in people that are temporarily or permanently staying or living on islands.” Based on this definition and looking back at my lasts years on the island, I believe that I suffered from it. I always loved travel, but financial resources weren’t as available in my younger years. Instead of traveling in person, I traveled using books.
I was able to explore Paris, Marseilles, Rome, and Greece thanks to Dumas’ The Count of Montecristo. I also explored the Amazon rainforest thanks to Allende’s City of Beasts. During some Art History courses, I learned about the influences from different eras and different pieces of land. It made me crave visiting these places more and more each day.
Here are my ten reasons why travel is important to me.
Travel allows me to explore
I am a curious person, and I married an even more curious person, and together we love to explore. We love to explore from both near and far, especially the road less traveled.
We love to get into our car and just start driving. Do we turn left or right? I remember the time we decided to do a road trip around Ireland. We had the stops we wanted to make throughout our trip, but we set our GPS to take us through the back roads. We avoided the highways as much as possible. There were so many greens and beautiful sites, we couldn’t stop smiling and taking the whole experience in. There’s so much beauty in the world.
Travel brings me joy
Doesn’t beauty or trying new experiences bring you joy? I’m always joyful when I travel. There are some everyday joys that we get to experience, but those can become constant until they lose their joyfulness. Travel, on the other hand, can bring new experiences to the table.
Travel allows me to experience new art exhibitions, outdoor activities, and the history of the many castles in Germany. Even if I am experiencing these alone, I’m not alone. There are other people I get to meet along the way until they become part of my story.
Furthermore, studies have confirmed that experiences can make people happier than material possessions. We adapt to material possessions, but the experiences travel brings provide much more happiness.
Travel helps me learn about different cultures and foods
I remember those days back in school where we had to learn about history. Many times it got repetitive until there was the one teacher that would use all the senses to teach history. It wasn’t just about what took place, they would create this scenario using the eyes, ear, nose, touch, and my favorite one, taste.
We used to do activities back in school that involved food from different countries. There’s nothing better than experiencing a new culture than with food. There’s nothing like eating a traditional Bratwurst from Germany, a macaroon from France, paella from Spain, an original pizza from Italy, or a Pad Kee Mao from Thailand.
As some people say, food brings everyone together. I believe travel allows visitors to experience a better sense of closeness to the country through culture and food.
Travel allows me to appreciate the arts
I love art and creativity, specifically how history and the times can affect art creation. I always try to visit art exhibitions, monuments, and museums when I travel. It’s not only an excellent opportunity to do a bit of photography, but also to learn the history behind each of them as much as possible.
The last museum I visited was the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. The Autostadt is next to the Volkswagen factory and it contains several pavilions showcasing manufactured vehicles, such as Audi, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, and SEAT, to name a few. It was extraordinary and the best example of art and engineering combined (at least in my opinion).
Travel helps me create memories
I cherish memories and I plan to have as many of them as possible. I remember the first time I traveled outside of the US. I was able to visit Rome, Italy for the first time back in 2005 during the last days of the life of John Paul II. I still remember attending the services at St. Peter’s and enjoying the uniforms of the Swiss guard. I also remember eating gelato in the Piazza della Rotonda in from of the Pantheon.
It has been more than 10 years since then, and I still cherish those memories because they bring me joy. They always bring a smile to my face when I think of them.
Travel makes me dream about travel
I believe that the more a person travels, the more they dream about travel. It is not about spending a few days at a certain location. There are so many places and people in this world that it’s hard to imagine not being able to experience them.
I am one of those people who needs a vacation from their vacation. I never stop walking, biking, hiking, or eating my way through new places. I am constantly trying to absorb as much as I can from every place I visit.
It brings me to the next reason why travel is so important to me.
Travel makes me wonder about living in this place
Doesn’t it ever happen to you? You visit a place and you love it so much that you start to wonder what it would be like to live there. I do it all the time. Even with my life in Germany, when I visit towns far away from the apartment, I start to wonder what it would be like to live near the Mosel or the Rhine.
The same happened when we were in Ireland many moons ago, we started to wonder what it would be like to live in a small flat in Dublin, or a cottage near the cliffs. It never stops because there’s so much to discover that one feels one must live there to be able to experience it all.
Travel allows me to understand historical contexts
Many aspects of life influence decisions, such as social, political, cultural, and economic situations. We constantly see trends or events on social media, and sometimes we don’t realize where these started to occur. I believe travel helps put historical contexts into perspective. After all, history tends to repeat itself, so it’s important to learn from it (at least that’s how it should go).
Travel provides the opportunity to learn about historical contexts from an on-the-ground perspective.
Travel allows me to capture the world
I love photography. It allows me to capture places, people and freezes a memory in time. We always try to have a visual memory of the different places we are lucky enough to visit.
One of the main reasons why travel is important to me is that I get to capture it with my lens. I love photographing as I hike along the forest, or the different people and characters I see around the city.
But one of the best things about photography is that I get to observe the world around me. It’s not just about pointing the camera and hitting the shutter button at random. I get to observe people as they go about their daily life and capture it when they are not looking. It’s always fun when I get caught.
At times, I photograph buildings, castles, or ruins I visit in Germany. I try to put myself in the shoes of the people who used to live in those ruins centuries ago. I can almost see them in my mind’s eye. It also reminds me that many of these buildings and ruins will still be here after I’m gone from this world.
Travel shows me how little I am in this world
The world is vast. Sometimes we all need a reminder of how small we are in our tiny corners of the world.
Travel offers me the opportunity to learn and enrich my life by learning from different people and cultures. But, we must remember that travel doesn’t only exist in what I will call the tangible world. It also exists in books.
During these times of COVID and travel restrictions, we can remember to use books to escape the world we currently live in. It’s also amazing to compare an author’s description of a place against what we have experienced. And if we haven’t, it’s certainly something to look forward to.